So you’re wondering whether you should get a dashboard-mounted camera in your car. The appeal of a trustworthy witness is obvious, and dashcam footage could settle legal quarrels much sooner. Some insurers even offer discounts to drivers with cameras in their cars.
The options range from around £30 for something that sticks to the windscreen and plugs into your 12V socket all the way up to £300 for a high-definition camera that needs to be professionally fitted into the car’s electrical system.
Some cameras simply film out of the front window, but others feature an extra rear-facing camera, G-force recorders to detect accidents when parked up and GPS receivers to record extra details. You can even get dashcams that will sound an alarm when the traffic light has turned green and you’ve yet to move.
As a rule of thumb, go for the best quality video recorder that you can afford – some dashcams perform much better in grimy, low-light conditions, something that could make all the difference when trying to pick out another car’s number plate.
They’ve become wildly popular in Russia because of worries about insurance fraud and dodgy police, and notorious on YouTube because of all the crazy Russian driving (as well as extensive coverage in 2013 of a meteor that hit Chelyabinsk, in the Urals). A recent RAC survey found that nearly 10% of UK drivers now have a dashcam.
If you can’t be bothered fitting one in your car, you can now get yourself a car that comes with an integrated setup: Citroen’s C3 now comes with ConnectedCam, which can function as a normal dashcam but will also send photos and video to your social media accounts on the move – handy if you’ve got some Arsenal players handy and want to show off.
And if you do capture something on your new camera, bear in mind police advice that you still need to report it to them via 101 or 999 (if it’s an emergency) instead of sharing via social media. They’ll want access to the whole recording, rather than just a clip of the incident.